One thing I love about working with athletes is their ability to view problems as obstacles they need to overcome in order to improve. Just like a bad race, it can be helpful to view the pandemic as a challenge that will push us to grow in ways we haven’t grown before in order to get closer to what is most important to us. Adapt, pivot, grow.
Have 10 minutes to spare? Finding yourself reading the news more than you’d like? Hoping to feel more inspired and less hopeless as we navigate life? Let’s go.
Looking at your values
Catastrophes can cause our values to shift. They might be different from the values that you had last month or even last week. The thing we know about values is that they can and do change, either due to crisis, developmental changes as we age, or actively changing them.
When we are living in alignment with our five core values, we are using the highest level of executive functioning in our brain. We are self-regulated, able to focus, and able to plan. The more we live according to our top five values, the more inspired and energetic we feel.
So what is most important to do right now is to understand what your current values are right now, notice if they have shifted, and completely own that.
Write out your five values that matter most to you right now.
(Stumped on all this values talk? That’s okay! Set aside some time today to dive into this. Watch TED talk videos on motivation and values (such as this one) You can buy a great book called The Values Factor. The author of The Values Factor, Dr. John Demartini has a questionnaire you can also fill out to help you get a better sense of what your values are).
Once you have established your value hierarchy, your goal is to link your actions, behaviors, and thoughts that you have throughout the day to your values. This takes the emotional brain out of the equation.
Let’s do an example together.
Let’s say your top priority suddenly shifted to family.
Then let’s say that an activity you’ve been doing lately: Spending a lot of time reading the news.
Next: Are you able to link spending 5 hours a day reading the news to your top priority of family?
When we do that we are not being connected to our highest values. I challenge you to NOTICE when you are acting in a lower value set at the moment (which is different from adding emotion to it, such as shame or guilt) and ask yourself in that moment, what is most important to me right now (refer to your 5 core values). If spending a lot of time reading the news isn’t actually important to you and you can’t link it to your values, take action and do something instead that links to your 5 highest values.
One of the best things we can do right now is regulate ourselves and operate from a headspace of calm and inspiration. This is how we stay healthy, sleep better, and grow.